Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 4.29.57 PMNation of Islam Western Regional Minister Tony Muhammad is anti-vaccine and urged California Legislative Black Caucus to not support a bill that would mandate childhood vaccinations, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Muhammad compared Senate Bill 277, which is up for vote on Thursday, to the Tuskegee Experiment.

The bill would repeal current personal-belief exemptions and religious exemptions to vaccinating children attending public and private schools. It would permit exemptions only for medical reasons. Lawmakers introduced the bill after a measles outbreak in California last December.

“That is a traitorous act,” he said of black lawmakers voting for the bill, which already passed the state Senate. “They will not be welcome in the black community if they vote like that.”

“This happened to us in Tuskegee, and we refuse to allow this thing to happen to us again under the name of health,” Muhammad said. “Because they came in the name of health in 1932 … and watched men die when they had a cure.”

From LA Times:

Muhammad cited a widely rejected study by one researcher who indicated that there might be a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys who receive the MMR vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella.

Several groups disputed Muhammad’s comments Monday.

“Unfortunately, recent attacks on the measure have been vicious, unfounded and distort the science and history of childhood immunization within our community,” said a statement by the California State Conference of the NAACP, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Charles R. Drew Medical Society, the California Black Health Network and the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations.

“Our organizations denounce assertions that vaccination of black children would be another Tuskegee experiment,” the statement said.

Members of the caucus denounced Muhammad’s comments and said the bill was good for public health.

“We feel that SB 277 was thoroughly vetted, and we stand by the positions of our individual members on the measure,” the statement said.

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  • Me

    if i was in cali i would vote it down. i don’t believe vaccines necessarily cause autism, but i do think vaccines are pushed by big pharma & i do believe the hype over the measles outbreak was orchestrated by big pharma. for the past couple years, they’e even managed to push their agenda onto tv shows to spread their propoganda that babies around the country will die if they don’t get vaccinated, when the truth is there have been no deaths from measles in the last decade, & even before the vaccine was introduced in the 60s, measles deaths had already been on a steep decline to less than one tenth of one percent (that’s less than 0.1%) without any vaccine available. but they won’t tell people that b/c big pharma needs to get its drugs out the door. vaccinating your kids should be left up to the parents. just b/c some folks in lab coats say something does not mean we all believe them or trust them & we shouldn’t be forced to put foreign objects in our children’s bodies against our will. if folks want to vaccinate their child, they should have access to the vaccine, but if not, no one should make a federal case out of it. jmo

  • There should be a balance. I don’t agree with the extremists on one side who wants to reject all science and the extremists on the other side who genuflect and worship the interests of Big Pharma (without critique as we know the corruption done by many in Big Pharma). Credible studies should be made accessible to the general public on the effectiveness of medicines and vaccines. There must be a balance between individual rights and public health. We need to promote our rights and we need investments to care for our health. I believe in universal health care, which exists in every industrialized nation on Earth except for the USA. Health care is a human right.

    • BillipPhailey

      The transparency and facts are there. The problem is the average person can’t understand nuance.

    • Many people do need to understand nuance, scientific studies, and health care indeed.

  • Ann Gomez

    I would be careful with the vaccines there are plenty of case where children have died from these shots. Now the autism conection is alittle foggy, no real proof. I personally think autism related to a women’s diet during pregancy and so on…. But I’ll be sure to vote no on that prop….

  • BillipPhailey

    The Tuskegee “experiment” is inapposite. These vaccines aren’t experimental and are widely used.

    I would urge people to read a broad range of historical works so that you can understand how quotidian child death and epidemics were.

    We 70s-80s kids remember cartoons with Bugs Bunny getting red spots for “measles”. Measles causes brain swelling, pneumonia, low-birth weight/premature birth and affects EVERY organ system in the body. It KILLS.

    Communicable diseases wreak the most havoc among those with cramped quarters, less medical care, the malnourished and generally weaker health.

    Guess who that’s going to affect? (Look up data if you can find it)

    Thinking people will protect public health first. There is growing sentiment that those who are not vaccinated be denied access to public facilities (schools, pools, libraries) where disease spreads.

    Guess who that’s going to affect? Frankly, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to extreme measures in the event of an outbreak. I have health care, common sense and don’t live in an underclass environment. None of my family is in the hood. Can you say the same????

    Becoming a vector of disease is decidedly not in the best interest of you, your family, your ethnic community and the nation.

    Don’t fall for emotionally soothing pseudonationalist bullshit. Get your kids immunized.

  • i mean

    Up until a year or two ago, rejecting vaccines was not that big of a deal. Before I left for college, I was offered a couple vaccines, including the Hepatitis vaccine. I politely declined and that was the end of it. I explained to my doctor that I was not sexually active, and I am very clean. I don’t eat everyone’s cooking, and I wash my hands after I use the bathroom (something I learned many young women do NOT do in college). And that was it. Today, oh my goodness people go insane if you even question it. I love science, but just because a doctor says something, it isn’t gospel truth. And plus, the way they spoke to me was kind of a turn off. “You will NEED birth control in college” “you will NEED these vaccines” as if I am opening my legs for anyone and anything. Anyways, people need to chill and allow people to make their own choices about themselves and their children.